Sen. Mike Lee Takes Issue With HBO’s ‘The Newsroom’

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HBO’s new drama “The Newsroom” has been the target of critical derision since its premiere. Now a sitting senator is taking issue with the show.Tea Party Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) called HBO co-president Richard Plepler on Monday, after “The Newsroom” mentioned Lee in its latest episode. Reporting on the rise of the Tea Party, the show’s anchor Will McAvoy, played by Jeff Daniels, said “the centerpiece of Lee’s stump speech is repealing the 14th amendment.” McAvoy called it an “applause line” that will win Lee his primary by double digits.

Lee’s office, according to The Salt Lake Tribune, says the senator supported “clarifying” the interpretation of the constitutional amendment, but didn’t support its repeal. And Lee’s opponent in 2010, Bob Bennett, failed to make it to the primary after the Utah Republican Convention.

The senator’s office told the paper that the network is free to criticize Lee, so long as it does so accurately. “Lee obviously understands he is a public official and open to criticism,” Lee spokesman Brian Phillips said, “but this particular mistake was especially egregious and deserved to be corrected.”

Phillips told TPM that Lee believes HBO “responded positively” to his issue with the episode, but declined to comment further.

The fictional journalists on “The Newsroom” report on real-life news events — including the BP oil spill and Arizona’s immigration law.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Taintor is a news editor at Talking Points Memo. Previously, he worked at NBC News and Adweek. He’s a native of Minnesota. Reach him at taintor@talkingpointsmemo.com.

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